Southern Cross Train Tour, Pretoria to Vic Falls Rail Journey

12 day
Rail trip to Victoria Falls.
This 12-day journey encompasses six countries on a route from Pretoria to Vic Falls that is carefully crafted to deliver stunning experiences each and every day. Please note this train tour is also available in reverse from Vic Falls to Pretoria.
  • Enjoy fresh seafood at one of Maputo's finest restaurants, Mozambique
  • Explore Kruger National Park and its African wildlife on game drives
  • Leave your fears behind and bungee jump from Livingstone Bridge near Victoria Falls
  • Experience the heartbeat of the township in Soweto, Johannesburg, on this African rail safari

The train travels between Pretoria and Victoria Falls, stopping at carefully selected locations in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. As the tracks unfurl a rare insight is offered into the cultural and geographical cocktail that makes Southern Africa so vibrant and exciting.

Day 1 - Pretoria And Soweto Tour

Board the Shongololo Express at Rovos Rail station in Pretoria. After being welcomed by your tour guide and the Shongololo Express representative, you will have time to relax and settle in as well as familiarise yourself with the detailed programme and the exciting excursions on offer to you during your trip ahead. After check-in enjoy a full-day orientation tour of Gauteng - the economic hub of South Africa - and visit Pretoria and Soweto with your knowledgeable guide.

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and home of the Union Building where the President and his Ministers sit. The building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1913. Next is a visit to Church Square to see the bronze statue of Paul Kruger. Kruger was the president of South africa from 1883 to 1900. The last stop in Pretoria is a visit to the Voortrekker Monument which honour the Great Trek of 1830.

Soweto is the biggest township in South Africa and home to more than one million residents. Soweto gained fame from the Apartheid (separation) laws. On the tour you will pass the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (the largest hospital in the Southern hemisphere) and Vilakazi Street - once home to two Nobel prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The last stop is a visit to the Hector Petersen Memorial, which commemorates the loss of his life during the Soweto student uprising in 1972.

Return to the station and depart to Nelspruit.

Day 2 - Panorama Route

Wake up in Nelspruit and enjoy breakfast before taking on the Panorama Route. On this full-day tour you will visit Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck potholes and God’s Window.

The old-world town of Pilgrim's Rest is situated in the Kruger lowveld region. In 1873 during the gold rush era 1500 diggers made the town their home. Today Pilgrim’s Rest is a living museum and national monument. Further up the escarpment you’ll find the great Blyde River Canyon (one of the most visited attractions in South Africa). Bourke’s Luck Potholes you will see displays of natural rock formations and pools that has been carved by river activities. The last stop on the tour is God's Window. From the viewpoint you can admire the beautiful lowveld.

After an incredible day out return to the train and depart for Malelane. Have dinner on board and spend the night on the Shongololo Express.

Day 3 - Kruger Park Game Drive

Savour a scrumptious breakfast and later transfer to Kruger National Park for a full-day game drive experience.

Kruger National Park is one of the biggest game reserves in Africa. The park is located in the northeastern part of South Africa and is home to the big five. The 2 million hectare park is a leader in innovation and environmental management. The park is home to a large number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Game drives are conducted in a air-conditioned vehicle. Open-top vehicle is optional.

As the day draws to an end you will be transferred back to Malelane for your onwards journey to Mozambique.

Day 4 - City Tour of Maputo, Mozambique

After breakfast your guide will meet you for a Maputo city tour. The city is the capital of Mozambique with an eclectic mix of different cultures. Here you will experience a combination of African and Portuguese influences. This trip includes visiting different landmarks, the beachfront, arts and culture.

On return to the train indulge in afternoon tea. After border formalities the train heads to Mpaka in Swaziland.

Day 5 - Kingdom of Swaziland Tour

Today you will be transferred by vehicle for a full-day visit to Swaziland with visits to Ngwenya Glass, Mbabane and Manzini.

Swaziland is a tiny landlocked monarch country on the north and south of South Africa. The drive to Manzini offers stunning views of the Ezulwini Valley and Komati River. The Swazi Market is buzzing with local arts and crafts and you’ll have an opportunity to purchase souvenirs.

After border formalities at Tjanrni you will rejoin the train in Kaapmuiden. Have dinner on board and depart for Klaserie near Hoedspruit in Limpopo.

Day 6 - Kapama Game Drive And Wild Dog & Cheetah Project

Wake up to a delicious breakfast and afterwards take a morning drive in the Kapama Game Reserve. The 13 000 hectare reserve is a combination of savannah and riverine forest. The reserve is home to the Big Five and other wild species.

The Wild Dog & Cheetah Centre is a rehabilitation centre for endangered species. The tour showcases the different projects at the centre and you will have a chance to see wildlife up close accompanied by a ranger from Kapama.

Day 7 - Day on board en route to South Africa

Enjoy a leisurely day on board. Admire the views from inside the train Or relax with a book. Customs and immigration clearance will be done at Beitbridge.

Day 8 - Great Zimbabwe Ruins Visit

After breakfast board the transfer vehicle to visit the Zimbabwe Ruins. Great Zimbabwe was the capital of the Queen of Sheba and was an important trading centre from the Middle Ages onwards. Lunch will be served at the Great Zimbabwe Hotel (to own account). After a mouthwatering feast the tour continues through the granite hill city to Rustenga.

Rejoin the train for dinner at Bannockburn and spend the night on the Shongolo Express.

Day 9 - Antelope Park Visit

Wake up for breakfast and afterwards your guide will transfer you to Antelope Park for a full-day of wildlife viewing. Optional extras includes water activities like canoeing or bird-watching cruises and horseback game viewing.

After an active and fun day out you will be transferred back and depart for Bulawayo.

Day 10 – Matobo National Park Visit

Today you will visit Matobo National Park. “Matobo” means ‘bald headed ones’” and describes the landscape and rock formation of the area. Next is a visit to the burial place of Cecil John Rhodes, a british businessman and founder of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The tour finishes at the bushman caves to view the galleries of bushman paintings.

Day 11 - Hwange Reserve Game Drive

Start your morning with a power breakfast and head to Hwange Reserve for a full-day game drive activity. The park is situated on the northwest corner of zimbabwe and has a large variety of wildlife and bird species. Hwange Reserve covers 1 462 000 hectares (roughly the size of Belgium) and popular for its lion population.

On return to the train you will depart for Thompson’s Junction. Have dinner and spend the night on the Shongololo Express.

Day 12 - Victoria Falls Tour

Your train journey ends at Victoria Falls Station. Check out of the train and walk over to Victoria Falls Hotel (luggage will be stored here).Your guide will meet you in the lobby for a walking tour of the village and Victoria Falls. As you make your way to the falls you’ll hear the sound of water and becomes a roar up close. Don’t forget your camera, there are many safe viewpoints and makes for stunning photographs.

Later you will be transferred to the Zambezi River for a sunset cruise. As the sun is setting across the river sip on sundowners and admire the views. Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and spend the night at the Victoria Falls Hotel.

Please Note

Please note this train journey is also available in reverse from Vic Falls to Pretoria. We can arrange pre and post accommodation and transfers to the station.

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